How Do I Know if My Child is Getting Enough Sleep?

As children progress into adolescence, they tend to pull away from their parents to establish their own identities. Although this is necessary part of growing up, children can put their health at risk by not telling their parents about their health issues. For example, pre-adolescents and teens often struggle to get enough sleep for a variety of different reasons. Although they might not view chronic sleeplessness as a major problem, not getting the recommended 9 to 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep, per night, can result in them experiencing severe behavioral and cognitive problems later in life. In order to prevent the development of these problems, you should be on the look out for any signs that your child not getting enough sleep.

Their Social Skills Begin to Suffer

While failing grades is one of the more obvious signs that a child isn’t getting enough sleep, they may also begin exhibiting more subtle symptoms. If you have an elementary or middle school age child and their social skills is suffering, they may not be getting enough sleep. Over time, sleep deprived children will become less social, eschewing interaction with their peers and declining to participate in group activities. Requesting regular updates on their in-class participation will prove to be a useful indicator of how well they are sleeping at night.

They Become Hyperactive

Although it is very common for adults to react to sleeplessness with drowsiness and fatigue, preadolescents and teens often have the opposite reaction. Instead slowing down, some children will experience a spike in impulsivity, energy and inattention. They’ll be unable to focus on class assignments and unable to summon the concentration necessary to finish their homework. In fact, chronic sleeplessness is a known symptom of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), being present in 50 percent of children suffering with that particular ailment.

They Become Accident Prone

Even if your child isn’t especially difficult to wake up in the morning, they still might be suffering from the effects of sleep deprivation if they suddenly become clumsy. One of the more pronounced symptoms, that lack of sleep has on the brain, is the youths reflexives and ability to focus become impaired. Consequently, they’ll begin to knocking things over, spilling food and injuring themselves by running into objects. If you notice your child becoming increasing uncoordinated, or if their teacher notes that they have become accident-prone, they might be afflicted with a sleep disorder.

Getting Help

While stress or the consumption of caffeine near bed time are often responsible for the occasional restless night, chronic sleeplessness might be the result of a sleep disorder. Children who are unable to fall sleep may be suffering from restless leg syndrome and a child who wakes up frequently during the night be may experiencing sleep apnea. Consequently, a lack of restful sleep may be the result of poor sleep hygiene.

If you are concerned that your child is afflicted with a sleep disorder, contact us today to schedule an appointment. Dr. Shulka has the expertise to diagnose and treat your child’s condition.

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